2019 team previews: New teams, others outside the top 30

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Kasey Kahne


Editor’s note: Today begins NASCAR.com’s countdown of team previews for the Monster Energy Series season, ranked in order of best finish in last year’s owner standings. We’ll kick off  with teams that finished outside the top 30 or are new for 2019 (listed alphabetically).

RELATED: On the move: Tracking 2019 changes

GO FAS RACING

Manufacturer: Ford

Engine: Roush Yates Engines

Driver: Corey LaJoie

Crew chief: Randy Cox

2018 standings: 31st

What’s new: LaJoie steps in as the replacement for Matt DiBenedetto, the No. 32 team’s driver the last two seasons. It’s a step up for the 27-year-old journeyman, who has run partial schedules in recent years while maintaining a number of duties — from driver to crew chief to seat welder for his father’s business. The organization will also use pit crew service from Team Penske, a shift from Hendrick Motorsports that’s intended to bolster its ties to Ford.

Outlook: The organization made incremental gains during DiBenedetto’s term, notching its first top-10 finishes since team owner Archie St. Hilaire first joined NASCAR’s top division. The team aims for a quick adjustment to a new rules package in 2019, with hopes to shoe-horn its way into the next tier of competition. “We’re probably the best of the small teams, but every week we race with that middle bunch — with the 34, the 38, the 95 and those guys — so we think we’re going to beat some of those this year, especially with this type of racing,” said team owner Archie St. Hilaire. “We need to be patient and just take advantage of every move we can and I think we’ll have some decent finishes and move up continually.”

•  •  •

MBM MOTORSPORTS

Manufacturer: Toyota

Engine: Race Engines Plus, former Triad Racing Engines inventory

Drivers: Timmy Hill, Joey Gase

Crew chiefs: TBD

2018 standings: 41st

What’s new: Gase joins the organization for a full-time effort in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 35 Toyota Supra with the potential for some Monster Energy Series starts. Hill indicated he’ll return to the Carl Long-owned team for 2019. The No. 66 appeared in 20 races last season, but Long indicated he hoped to increase his participation to as much as 90 percent of the schedule this year.

Outlook: The team’s battle to crack the higher reaches of the standings will come on a budget, with Long in negotiations with Toyota Racing Development for additional manufacturer support. The next task for Long and his drivers: Trying to find the right fit for hands-on crew chiefs ahead of Daytona.

•  •  •

OBAIKA RACING

Manufacturer: Toyota

Engine: TBD

Driver: Tanner Berryhill

Crew chiefs: TBD

2018 standings: 46th

What’s new: After fielding cars in three Xfinity Series campaigns (2015-17), team owner Victor Obaika announced a full schedule for its No. 97 Camry with Berryhill entered in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year race. The remaining details for its Monster Energy Series operation are still coming together with Daytona’s Speedweeks approaching.

Outlook: Obaika got a jump on 2019’s move up by participating in the final three races of last season, with Berryhill starting two and veteran David Starr in one. Expect a tall learning curve for the upstart group, even with a new rules package that may level some spots on the playing field.

•  •  •

PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

Engine: ECR Engines

Driver: Ross Chastain

Crew chiefs: Pat Tryson

2018 standings: 32nd

What’s new: The Jay Robinson-owned team is set to bring back Chastain with what’s been described as a handshake deal, as reported by RacinBoys.com. Chastain competed in all but two Monster Energy Series events last year, but earned championship points in the Xfinity Series.

Outlook: Details for the season ahead should come into clearer focus closer to Speedweeks. Chastain was among the busiest drivers in NASCAR last season, with 74 starts across all three national series, but he was also among the biggest overachievers. Known for getting the most out of his equipment, Chastain will need to punch above his weight as the No. 15 team adjusts to a new rules package.

•  •  •

RICK WARE RACING

Manufacturer: Chevrolet, Ford

Engine: TBD, Roush Yates Engines

Drivers: TBD

Crew chiefs: TBD

2018 standings: 36th; 45th

What’s new: RWR announced earlier this month that it had acquired a second charter with the intent to field two entries — Nos. 51 and 52 — in the Monster Energy Series this year. The team is assembling other details ahead of Daytona with personnel moves to be announced shortly, but the organization has scooped up what it has termed as “a fleet of cars” from Leavine Family Racing and Front Row Motorsports. According to a report from NBC Sports, 59-year-old veteran Mike Wallace says he is in negotiations with the organization in an attempt to return to the series for the first time since 2015. After a nearly two-year hiatus, Rick Ware Racing is also planning an Xfinity Series entry — No. 25 in honor of the organization’s silver anniversary.

Outlook: The Ware group competed in a full Monster Energy Series schedule last season, fielding a two-car effort in five of those events. A total of 16 drivers split time in RWR’s seats last year, with BJ McLeod getting the most reps (14). Though there’s a risk of spreading the team’s resources too thin with expansion, Ware hopes the move to two full-season entries will foster data-sharing and enhanced teamwork. “It’s been a busy offseason for our team since Homestead but we’re embracing 2019 with a wide-open approach,” team owner Rick Ware said in a news release. “By acquiring a second Cup charter it will allow us to have two full-time cars at the race track each weekend where we hope it will allow the two teams to work together and improve the team performance overall from the 2018 season.”

•  •  •

SPIRE MOTORSPORTS

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

Engine: TBD

Drivers: Jamie McMurray, Quin Houff, others TBD

Crew chiefs: TBD

2018 standings: none

What’s new: Almost everything. Spire Sports + Entertainment, a North Carolina agency that represents multiple types of motorsports clients, purchased the No. 78 charter from Furniture Row Racing with the intent to go full-time racing. Spire employs several former team principals — Joe Garone, Ty Norris and T.J. Puchyr among them — who should be able to steer the start-up effort. The organization announced that through a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing, it will field a No. 40 Chevrolet for Jamie McMurray in what’s expected to be his final Monster Energy Series start. The entry will then carry No. 77 with rookie Quin Houff jumping in for a partial schedule. Beyond that, details for the rest of the season are still taking shape.

Outlook: Spire’s possession of the Furniture Row charter will add a level of stability and financial incentives based on that team’s finishes of first (2017) and second (’18) the last two seasons. The team has as good a shot as any in the opener with former Daytona 500 champ McMurray in the fold, but may face an uphill path with Houff, a veteran of just 10 Xfinity Series starts. Until the placement of more key personnel — most notably, more drivers and a crew chief — becomes clearer, the performance bar for 2019 will be tough to gauge.

•  •  •

STARCOM RACING 

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

Engine: ECR Engines

Driver: Landon Cassill

Crew chief: Wayne Carroll

2018 standings: 34th

What’s new: There’s plenty of new to go around in the organization’s second full go at Monster Energy Series competition. The team has purchased the charter it leased last season from Richard Childress Racing, which will provide support through a technical alliance and a new contract with ECR Engines. StarCom will also move to a new 20,000-square-foot shop in Salisbury, North Carolina. Veteran crew chief Wayne Carroll, who spent time last year with StarCom’s No. 99 entry, will shift to the team’s flagship No. 00 Chevy.

Outlook: Cassill’s return offers a dose of continuity to StarCom’s efforts after the two joined forces for 29 races last season. The additional technical support from RCR should assist the cause for a team hoping to fortify its foundation in its second full campaign.

•  •  •

TOMMY BALDWIN RACING

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

Engine: TBD

Drivers: Ryan Truex

Crew chiefs: TBD

2018 standings: none

What’s new: Tommy Baldwin Racing announced Jan. 16 that Truex would drive its No. 71 entry in the Daytona 500. The Baldwin-Truex partnership marks a series of returns to the Monster Energy Series: TBR will be back on track for the first time since an 11-race slate in 2017, and Truex — an Xfinity Series regular last year — will attempt to make his first Cup Series start since 2014.

Outlook: TBR indicated that it’s seeking sponsorship for more events beyond Daytona, and that more announcements are forthcoming. In the meantime, the new partnership offers a chance at redemption for Truex, who was a heartbreaking DNQ for the Daytona 500 in his only other attempt at the race — for BK Racing in 2014.

TEAM PREVIEWS
Jan. 22: Assorted teams
Jan. 23: Richard Petty Motorsports
Jan. 24: Germain Racing
Jan. 25: Leavine Family Racing
Jan 28: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 29: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 30: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 31: Roush Fenway Racing
Feb. 1: Richard Childress Racing
Feb. 4: Chip Ganasssi Racing
Feb. 5: Hendrick Motorsports
Feb. 6: Joe Gibbs Racing
Feb. 7: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 8: Team Penske



Official Site Of NASCAR – 2019 team previews: New teams, others outside the top 30

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